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Election issues open for discussion, dialogue at Junior’s

October 5, 2012

With the next presidential election coming up soon, the students are becoming aware of important issues.

Junior’s Bar and Grill will be hosting two speakers that will be discussing some of these issues.

The fi rst speaker is executive director of Turningpoint in River Falls, Kim Wojick. She will be talking about the current status of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that is currently facing Congress.

The second speaker is Cheryl Maplethorpe. She is the former Minnesota Director of Financial Aid for the State of Minnesota, and is currently the Executive Corporate Financial Aid Director for Globe University. Maplethorpe will be talking about student loans.

Turningpoint is a place that provides services for victims of sexual and domestic violence in both St. Croix and Pierce Counties. There is a 24-hour crisis hotline, a 24- hour text line, and a shelter for victims.

VAWA was enacted in 1994 and is a piece of legislation that provides support and responses to stalking, dating violence, sexual violence and domestic violence. This piece of legislation was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005, and it is time for reauthorization.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have passed different bills that contain both good and bad elements.

The reauthorization bill will protect all victims. This includes young women, tribal women, victims of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, immigrants and public housing residents. VAWA’s vital programs must also be funded, the bill’s authors argue, without limitations that can jeopardize a victim’s safety.

Wojick believes that this is an important issue to discuss because young women can be educated on the topic of violence in order to make a difference.

On Oct. 23, Maplethorpe will tell listeners about student loans. Maplethorpe says that every student is able to receive a federal loan. Students can either receive a subsidized or unsubsidized loan.

A subsidized loan is based on fi nancial need and the government pays the interest. In the 2011-2012 academic year, full time undergraduate students received an estimated $5,750 in grant aid at public, four-year institutions.

The average student loan debt for the state of Wisconsin is $24,624, as of 2010. The average debt for students who graduated in 2010 from UWRF is $14,800.

Maplethorpe says that this is an important issue to bring up because student loans affect everybody.

UWRF student Vivian Chen said that VAWA is important because college students all have rights, and there are boundaries to what people should and should not do.

She also said that student loans are important to learn about because they affect students directly when it comes to how much they have to pay when they graduate. In order to be an informed voter, citizens need to know what is going on.

The event at Junior’s will allow people to be more prepared when voting for a candidate.